ROANOKE, Va – A Roanoke City program has already made a difference for hundreds of city residents and is looking for even more families to help.
It's called LeadSafe Roanoke, and if you meet the qualifications -- especially if you have a child younger than 5 -- you could receive free home upgrades.
Work crews contracted by the city of Roanoke paint over any surface in and outside of a home that tests positive for lead.
Marla Robertson is the program's education coordinator.
“We have incredible character and incredible old houses here in Roanoke, which we would never get rid of. However, if they're built before 1978, they’re more than likely to have lead paint in them, so that's why we’re here to keep a character, but make sure the homes are taken care of as far as children and families are concerned,” Robertson explained.
“My daughter was just becoming mobile when I applied and I was so afraid that she would be eating those chips of paint that would be sitting in the sills of the window, in the sills of the door,” said Stepheney Hernandez, a mom who received upgrades from LeadSafe Roanoke.
Of all the homes in Roanoke, 86 percent were built before 1978.
That's part of the reason the Department of Housing and Urban Development recently awarded Roanoke with another federal grant for more than $2 million.
If you would like to learn more on qualifications, click www.roanokeva.gov/leadsafe.